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May 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It may not have been the smash opening that Sony executives were likely hoping for, but when a film debuts with $70 million in ticket sales, it’s hard for anyone to complain. That was the case with the four-day holiday debut of Men in Black 3, which also took in $132 million overseas for a worldwide total of $202 million. That’s a lot of cash by anyone’s reckoning, but it still does not guarantee that the movie will wind up in the black, given its reported budget of $250 million and promotion and marketing costs of $100-150 million. Moreover, the overseas results included China, where the studio will receive just 25 percent of that country’s $19.5-million weekend take. (China also reportedly censored scenes in which Chinese characters were shown unfavorably and edited the film down to 90 minutes — something that could reduce future theater attendance for the movie in that country and encourage bootlegging.) Meanwhile, the Avengers fell to second place in its fourth week but with a solid $46.9 million over the four days, to bring its domestic total to $523.6 million. It has rapidly become the fourth-highest money maker ever, behind only Avatar, Titanic, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Meanwhile, The Chernobyl Diaries, the only other film to open wide over the weekend, wound up so much toxic waste as it collected just $9.3 million over the four days — and was pilloried by moviegoers on entertainment blogs. They also rated the movie a D+ when polled by research firm CinemaScore. Overall, the box office was down 32 percent from the same weekend a year ago when The Hangover Part II and Kung Fu Panda 2 debuted.

The top ten films for the four-day holiday weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:

1. Men in Black 3, $70 million; 2. The Avengers, $46.9 million; 3. Battleship, $13.8 million; 4. The Dictator, $11.8 million; 5. Dark Shadows, $9.4 million; 6. The Chernobyl Diaries, $9.3 million; 7. What to Expect When You’re Expecting, $8.9 million; 8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, $8.2 million; 9. The Hunger Games, $2.9 million; 10. Think Like a Man, $1.8 million.